Let's Get Dirty

A gardening blog for adults who still love to play in the dirt.

Send stories and pictures of your horticultural adventures to letsgetdirty@gjsentinel.com.

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Only you can prevent curly top virus

By Penny Stine
Wednesday, June 6, 2012

I only lost one tomato plant last year to curly top virus, but I know Carol, one of our fellow dirty gardeners, lost most of hers. In the past, gardeners have been told there's nothing much to do, other than physically covering plants with a row cover this time of year to prevent the beet leaf hopper from landing on them and infecting them.
When I was at the extension office on Monday, Bob Hammon was telling a group of gardeners about a fairly new insecticide that's supposed to prevent curly top virus. It's Ortho Bug-be-Gone systemic, with acetamiprid as the active ingredient.
I haven't used many insecticides in my garden, because I never wanted to start spraying without knowing what I was doing. I feel a little more confident (plus, I'm tired of seeing the bugs win!) after taking the Master Gardener class and chatting with experts about how and when to apply.

Conditions have been perfect  for that stinkin' beet leaf hopper to fly, plus I'm already seeing what leaf miners are doing to my spinach and my beet tops. I'm sure they'll find the Swiss chard soon. The insecticide is supposed to work against all those piercing sucking types that ruin spinach, beet greens, Swiss chard - AND cause curly top virus.
I found some spray at True Value on North and am planning on using it this weekend. 

Bob said one spray now and another spray in 10 days should be all you need. Sounds good to me. 


Ever eat a rat’s tail?

By Penny Stine
Monday, June 4, 2012

Anyone who reads this blog knows that I love growing unusual plants. Sometimes, I buy vegetable seeds just to see what the plant looks like or discover how well it will grow in our climate, even if I've never eaten the vegetable and don't know if I'll like it. That's how I discovered kale, tomatillos and pattypan squash, which are now favorite garden staples.

This year, I'm trying several new additions and this is one of them. If this looks like a radish plant gone to seed in my onion patch, that's because that's what it is. It's called rat's tail radish, and unlike traditional radishes, you don't pull up the plant to eat the root in early spring.



This plant is supposed to grow and produce all season, even in the heat. It flowers, goes to seed and produces a seed pod, which looks like a rat's tail. Or a green bean, take your pick. Just don't bite into one expecting green bean flavor. It's pure radish - hot, spicy and quite tasty.

I don't know why they aren't more popular for home gardens, but it's probably going to become another garden staple for me. 


These boots were made for walkin’...

By Penny Stine
Friday, June 1, 2012

These boots were made for walkin'...

"But that's now what they'll do....



Using the blog from a few weeks ago, our very own Jo Murray planted her husbands old boots with beautiful succulents.


The repurposed boots were steel toed, so she made the holes farther up than the Pinterest boots, keeping the integrity of the boot. I love the look.


She put the boots on her porch on an old ice cream dolly and presto - a fun unique decoration for her home.


Thanks for sharing, Jo!


"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself, any direction you choose." - Dr Seuss  (He's a doctor, trust him.)


Garden news from the town of Palisade

By Penny Stine
Thursday, May 31, 2012

This press release came from Sarah Brooks with the town of Palisade. Since it's garden-related, I figured it needed to be on Let's Get Dirty.

Building a Healthy Community

In April, the Town of Palisade was awarded $500 from the Colorado Parks and Recreation Association for the provision of a new community garden. With matching funds from the Palisade Sunrise Rotary, Palisade Co-Op, local resident Bud Lofvenborg, and generous contributions from the Rock Shop, the Town of Palisade is officially welcoming citizens to the community garden on West Fourth Street.




The garden site is still very basic, but through a community effort the garden will blossom and grow into something that will bring great pride to the citizens of Palisade. On May 30th, Palisade Town staff worked diligently to place and fill garden boxes with soil, and there are now ten completed raised beds in varying sizes that are available for lease. More boxes will be available as the demand increases. Once the garden beds are purchased and citizens begin to plant and provide tender loving care to their plot, the Palisade Community Garden will come to look like a desert in bloom.




Garden plots are available for lease, on a first come first serve basis. All beds have been filled with mixed soil, and a water tap is on site for all garden users. Citizens interested in leasing a plot for the season should contact the Town of Palisade.




The garden rates are as follows:
 Plot Size       Regular Fee           Low Income Fee
4X8                $45                           $25
3X5                $35                           $15
2X3                $25                           $10


The dangerous season

By Penny Stine
Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Yes, we gardeners live dangerously. I thought everyone knew that. We create jungles in our garden spaces in August because we're incredibly impatient at the end of May. Plus, there's the aura of mystery inherent in every springtime garden when seeds are used.
Will it come up? Did it die? Did a critter chomp either the seeds or the seedlings?
I planted six sweet potato plants - only two look like they'll survive. Still not thriving, as you can see by the picture, but looking somewhat Gloria Gaynor-ish.






Here's the one that's got me living on the edge of danger. It looks dead, right? I gave it a huge space because my mom said sweet potatoes need it. So now that I've got the huge empty space with nothing growing in it but a maybe-dead sweet potato, I'll be tempted to plant even more seeds because an empty space in a garden is worse than a cookie jar with no cookies. It must be filled!
I will sow a jungle. My sweet potato plant will miraculously not die, but will compete with the squash, beans or tomatillos I plant in its place. Everything will grow and I'll need a machete to find whatever produce my jungle produces.

If that's not living dangerously, I don't know what is. 

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